Apr 14

Kickstarter for Geek Theater: Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Plays

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Listing by Gillian Daniels

I first met Erin Underwood during our involvement in planning one of New England’s most prominent science fiction conventions, Boskone.  She impressed me not only with her editorial prowess—she had recently put together a short story collection of young adult science fiction with Hannah Strom-Martin through Underwords Press, Futuredaze—but her vibrancy and enthusiasm.  A local to the Boston area, Erin struck me with her openness to new challenges and genre fiction projects.  It was a pleasure to work with her and I have tried to keep tabs on her ongoing endeavors ever since. Continue reading

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Apr 14

Three Days of (Bittersweet) Rain

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Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Richard Greenberg
Directed by Daniel Bourque

April 4-19, 2014
First Church in Boston
66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116
Hub Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) In Hub Theatre’s production of Three Days of Rain, audiences are gently tricked.  We are initially introduced to a family melodrama that takes place in 1995. Walker (John Geoffrion) comes to terms with his father’s death in the rundown apartment the man shared with his business partner during the sixties.  Stubborn and volatile, Walker doesn’t appear to have a great relationship with his sister, the “sane” Nan (Marty Seeger Mason), who takes him to the reading of their famous architect father’s will. They are joined by the son of his late business partner, Pip (Tim Hoover), a kind but not terribly bright soap opera actor.  With the reading of the will, the peace between the three of them deteriorates and their complex bond reforms.  So far, this is a story of despair, but it’s also just its maudlin surface. Continue reading

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Apr 10

“Far Away” is Close to Home

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Presented by Whistler in the Dark
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Meg Taintor

April 3-19, 2014
The Charlestown Working Theatre
Charlestown, MA
Whistler on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

One of the most terrifying things about dictatorships, dystopias, and police states are how they turn what is savage and ridiculous into what is mundane and even acceptable.  Blood doesn’t flow on stage at any point during Whistler in the Dark’s production of Far Away.  No one pulls out a gun or stabs another character to prove a point.  With the power of playwright Caryl Churchill’s words and Meg Taintor’s direction, they don’t need to. Fear  lay heavily over the show already; we don’t need any clearer sign things are uncertain and wrong. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Playful Rendering of Moliere’s “Lovers’ Quarrels”

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Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Molière
Directed by Matthew Woods
Translation by Richard Wilbur

March 28 – April 19, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) imaginary beasts’ production of Lovers’ Quarrels is less concerned with emotional authenticity than the beauty of its artifice.  The 17th century romantic comedy is not exactly a work of realism, and thankfully, is not treated as such.  Its plot hinges on a girl who has been raised as a boy, Ascagne (Lynn R. Guerra), tricking a young man she likes, Valère (Will Jobs), into marriage by pretending to be her extremely feminine sister, Lucile (Erin Eva Butcher). imaginary beasts presents this material with all the seriousness it deserves, creating an innocent, funny romp through improbable obstacles. Continue reading

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Mar 25

Laid Low by LO’JO

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LO’JO presented by World Music/ CRASHarts
ONE NIGHT ONLY: Saturday, March 15, 7:00 pm
17 Holland St. Somerville, 02144
World Music/CRASHarts on Facebook
Lo’Jo on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville) Lo’Jo is the sort of low-key, warmly contemporary act that suits Johnny D’s perfectly.  It’s jazzy, it has a an adult pop vibe, and it fits right in with the swinging glamour of the Davis Square bar.  World Music CRASHarts has again brought to Boston a band that blends old world, European charm and a thoroughly contemporary, “citizens of the world” groove. Continue reading

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Mar 17

“What Once We Felt” Feels Undercooked

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Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ann Marie Healy
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 14 – 22, 2014
The Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville) What Once We Felt is science fiction that distills contemporary anxieties into a thinly veiled future.  The bedrock of Ann Marie Healy’s dystopia, which premieres in Boston for the first time, is literary digitization, a bleak economy with a suppressed lower class, deplorable health care conditions, iPhone obsessions, and some unlikely but remarkable advances in artificial insemination. The play will make an excellent artifact of our age group.  Though the mask this society wears to disguise its relation to our own is transparent, so is the world-building and the logic behind a woman-only, caste-system culture.  The mechanics are questionable, but the anti-utopian horror that Flat Earth Theatre creates is sublimely creepy. Continue reading

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Feb 25

“Baby with the Bathwater”: Dysfunctional Family and Oddly Cheerful Dark Comedy

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Photo credit: Happy Medium Theatre Co

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Co.
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Lizette M. Morris

February 14-22nd, 2014
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 8 pm, Saturdays 4 pm, Sundays 3 pm
The Factory Theater
791 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02118
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre’s Baby with the Bathwater is searing, cruel, and weirdly loving.  A lopsided family portrait, the play is a satire on abusive upbringings dramatized for entertainment.   The show appears to take place in a warped alternate universe where new parents John (Jeremy Towle) and Helen (Denise Drago) are too dimwitted to understand one holds a baby when it cries or that children aren’t allowed Nyquil. Their misnamed son, Daisy (Mike Budwey), endures a home life so skewed but with parents so achingly human, it becomes chillingly akin to real dysfunction. Continue reading

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Feb 17

Violence and Its Aftermath Explored in “Interference”

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Icarus

Presented by Liars and Believers
Directed by Steven Bogart
Created by Many Collaborators

February 12, 2014
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Liars and Believers on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Does Interference work as a play?  No, but I’m not sure if it’s meant to cohere as the kind of story with a single start and finish.  Liars and Believers have created an immersive experience with mixed results, one that works well enough when staged at a fantastic venue like the Oberon.  Similarly to Lunar Labyrinth, though, the last effort I saw by Liars and Believers, Interference is a series of vignettes inspired by a single work.  Here, the theater group takes its cues from Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting, “Guernica.” Continue reading

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Feb 03

“Two Wrongs” is Too Forgiving

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Photo credit: Brown Box’s Facebook page

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
By Scott Caan
Directed by Kyler Taustin

Boston: January 31 – February 9, 2014
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress Street
Boston, MA

Ocean City: February 14 – 17, 2014
Ocean City Center for the Arts
502 94th Street
Ocean City, MD

Brown Box Theatre on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) The Brown Box Theatre Project’s Two Wrongs is a comedy-drama that concerns the tenuous, complex nature of doctor/patient relationships and the temptation to abuse authority.  It’s an entertaining show, but it never interrogates its wrongdoers too sharply.  Its tone is ultimately one of sympathy, perhaps a little too gentle. Continue reading

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Jan 08

Back to Basics for “History 101″

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Graphic taken from the “History 101″ Facebook event page.

presented by ImprovBoston
Written by James Ferguson
Directed by  A. Vincent Ularich

Performances January 11, 18, 25 only – get ‘em while they’re hot!
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA
ImprovBoston on Facebook
History 101 FB event Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) Improbable and strange at the best of times, delving into the subject of history seems like an excellent move for a troupe over at ImprovBoston. Writer James Ferguson and director A. Vincent Ularich riff on notable, ancient, and over-the-top historical anecdotes. The skits vary between silly to stark, but the common thread running through all of them is far too loose to stitch the show together. Continue reading

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